“Clunkers” Program Stalls

The Cash for Clunkers program is on its last wheel.

The new car smell has worn off. 

Just hours after Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and James Flemming, president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, held a news conference calling for fixes to the federal "Cash for Clunkers" program, they got their wish. 

Thursday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the program is slated to end at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday.

Blumenthal and Fleming said they've sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood saying that while the program has been a nationwide success, certain requirements and procedures are creating needless headaches for consumers and retailers.  

Their recommendations included:

  • expediting the processing of dealer applications for credits
  • allowing consumers to keep used vehicles while applications for credits are processed
  • providing ways to ease dealer accounting and record-keeping
  • and setting a deadline for the program to avoid confusion and anxiety.

Blumenthal said the automotive model needs a tuneup and that success has bogged down the "Cash For Clunkers" program. Many dealers now risk $4,500 and many consumers are losing the use of their old cars without receiving new ones because they're waiting for the governor to sign off, he said.

Fleming said 270 dealerships, along with 13,000 people employed in those dealerships and thousands of Connecticut consumers, are benefiting from the program. 

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